Symptoms Of Retractile Testicle: Treatment For Undescended Testes

Testicles are important reproductive organs in men. There are two testicles, left and right situated in scrotum, which is a bag like structure. When the baby is in womb, testicles are the part of the abdomen, however in the last months of pregnancy testicles descend down into the scrotum.

A retractile testicle is an abnormality very common among toddlers and young boys.

As per the fitting title, a ‘retractile testis’ merely means retraction of testis to and fro from scrotum into the groin and vice versa. In retractile testis, even though the testis hangs in the scrotum, it may be pulled upwards into the groin by cremester muscle under certain circumstances. However, they can be easily brought back into the scrotum with manipulation of fingers, or they descend down on their own by pressure.

In most cases, a retractile testis if present may settle permanently into the scrotum before puberty. However, in small percentage of boys the retractile testis does not settle in the scrotum and spend more and more time in the groin. In such situation they have to be fixed into the scrotum with an operative procedure.

Symptoms Of Undescended Testes

As mentioned earlier, testicles are the part of abdomen when the fetus is in the womb. But during the last months before parturition, they gradually hang down into the scrotum. In some cases they do not stay in place as they should, but often move upwards into the groin. These happens when the cremester muscles pulls them up. The symptoms that you may observe in your son having retractile testis are:

  • Sudden disappearance of testis from the scrotum.
  • Sudden appearance of testis in the scrotum.
  • The testis can be manipulated and brought down into the scrotum by exerting moderate pressure over the inguinal area. By drawing the fingers towards the neck of the scrotum, a testis of a retractile type can be pushed into the upper part of the scrotum, where it grasped between the finger and thumb of the other hand.
  • During the manipulation or on its own, the movement of retractile testis is not painful. In most cases there is no discomfort either.
  • Not frequently, this testicular mobility continues throughout childhood on both the sides, or less frequently on one side.
  • You may observe retractile testis while swimming, especially when the water is cool or if you are bathing in cool water. The muscles of the scrotum contract in the cold and may push the testis upwards.
  • Boys playing sports may also experience retractile testis.

Treatment For Retractile Testicle In Boys

Most of the time retractile testis descends down in the scrotum and remains fixed permanently by the time the boy attains puberty. Such testis requires neither endocrine nor operative treatment except a routine check up by the doctor. One of the encouraging ways for the testis, to drop down into the scrotum is to make the child squat, the thighs being brought up on the abdomen.

If the testis remain in the inguinal region and cannot be brought down by hand as it used to be or if they remain retractile even after the boy attains puberty, the treating doctor may consider starting treatment. The aim is to permanently settle the testis into the scrotum and prevent complications such as torsion of testis, orchitis, or increased chances of malignancy.

One of the ways is to surgically bring down the testis into the scrotum. The procedure is called orchiopexy.

Some time the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is also utilized, since hormones also play a part in descent of testis.

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